Graphic by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer
On Saturday, President Donald Trump left the United States for his first trip abroad as president. In a weekly address he delivered on Friday, Trump announced that his destinations will include Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Vatican City, Brussels, and Italy.
“I will be visiting with the leaders of many different countries to strengthen our old friendships, build new partnerships and unite the civilized world in a fight against terrorism,” Trump emphasized last Friday.
Trump visited Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on Tuesday and the two leaders reaffirmed a commitment to work together to “counter terrorist financing and combat extremist ideology,” according to a White House press release.
In a speech given at the Arab Islamic American Summit, a historic event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Trump named Iran as a major supplier of weapons, funder and trainer of terrorist organizations and extremist groups.
Last June, the State Department listed Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism, based on the results of annual report on global terrorist activity, according to CNN.
He then called on leaders from Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Vatican to unify with the United States to dismantle terrorism in the Middle East.“Starving terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology, will be the basis for defeating them,” said Trump.
On Monday, Trump met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and later President Reuven Rivlin, the tenth and current president of Israel.
Trump and Netanyahu agreed to work together on a number of issues, including cyber security, trade, technology, innovation and research, in an effort to improve relations between the U.S. and Israel, according to a White House press release. The leaders also discussed the importance of strengthening “military capabilities” and agreed to join forces against terrorism in the Middle East.
During his meeting with Rivlin, Trump stressed America’s commitment to Israel’s security and agreed to strengthen the bond between the U.S. and Israel, according to a White House press release.
During his visit to Jerusalem, Trump became the first president to visit the Western Wall while serving in office, the remains of a sacred Jewish holy temple that was mostly destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 CE, according to the Jewish Virtual Library, a faction of the nonprofit organization, American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE).
On Saturday, Trump met with the leader of Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and emphasized policies and goals to eradicate terrorism on a global scale in a speech delivered at the Arab Islamic American Summit, according to a White House transcript of the speech.
He also referenced an agreement that will invest $400 billion in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and create “many thousands of jobs” in both countries. The agreement includes a $110 billion “Saudi-funded defense purchase,” which would “help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations,” according to Trump.
The partnership also includes the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, a facility that will track “extremist” communications in real time, according to The Atlantic.
“Here at this summit we will discuss many interests we share together,” stated Trump at the event on Sunday. “But above all we must be united in pursuing the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history’s great test—to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.”
Trump will make his way to Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday and Thursday and conclude his trip at Taormina, Italy on Thursday and Friday, according to the Washington Post. He will return to the U.S. on Friday.